The Dutch model dishes about being on both sides of the camera. By Christene Barberich, Portrait by Douglas Perrett/COACD
It's no surprise that many of fashion's most copied cat-walkers look just as amazing off-duty as they do cruising the coolest shows of Fashion Week. For Dutch model Iekeleine Stange, that's even a bit of an understatement. Since her arrival on the scene a few years ago—and a first glimpse of those signature red librarian-chic spectacles—the winsome 21-year-old has been in demand by everyone from Vogue (all of 'em) and Numero to Marc Jacobs, Burberry, and Chanel (not to mention our indie faves Chris Benz and Karen Walker).
Lately though, Stange has been spending just as much time behind the camera as she has in front of it. Living in London now with her photographer boyfriend, Nicholas Lawn, the fashion enigma has been sharpening her focus, too, as a lenswoman, snapping photos backstage in Paris and wherever else this globetrotting girl happens to be. We checked in with Stange not only about her own personal style truths, but also about her upcoming exhibition, a collection of the model's own photos to open in London next fall.
You definitely seem to have lots of fun getting dressed. How would you describe your style?
"It's a big mix of things. I don't take things too seriously and wish people could have more fun with how they dress. I like to get into a different character every day…it's fun to play around. I have a 2-bedroom apartment in London with my boyfriend, and one of the bedrooms is just considered my wardrobe! It's covered in sequins, tutus, catsuits, and colors everywhere you look. I love to make people smile when I walk down the street."
Iekeliene has become known for her playful style
Who are your biggest fashion inspirations?
"To be honest, I find my friends the most inspiring. I have a lot of very unique people around me who have their own character and don't get affected by their surroundings."
Tell us some of your style constants…the things you turn to everyday…
"I wear a lot of hairpieces, like hats, headbands, tiaras. I also have an obsession with anything sparkly! Of course, my big frames keep popping back on my nose, as well. I think Berlin is probably one of the best cities for vintage shopping now. There are some great markets there where people still sell all their junk for very little money."
Iekeliene's self-portrait polaroids
The Dutch model in front of, and behind, the lens. Photos via Bobble Bee
You've been shooting a lot of your own stuff backstage. When did you start getting interested in photography?
"I've been into photography since I was young. I used to run after my sister when I was 15 with a little camera telling her to pose everywhere for me. When I was 17, I moved to London to study photography, but since London is very expensive I couldn't afford to do a full-time study. So, when I got scouted to do modeling it seemed like a good way to create some financial stability."
Did the whole backstage world prompt you to start shooting more?
"It mostly started as a way to entertain myself while waiting backstage. I want to focus more on documentary photography, so I thought it would be a nice project to document the backstage fashion world as I have such an original perspective on it."
Two of Iekeliene's moody backstage portraits
"Everything is always so rushed and dramatic running around from show to show, and I try to convey this in my photographs. It's great to see all the different creations designers come up with…especially once you get to Paris and you get designers like Galliano, McQueen, Rick Owens, you see so many inspiring looks."
Which shows generally offer the best experience, backstage or otherwise?
"Galliano and Dior are always the best ones…the makeup and hair are always extraordinary."
Two of Iekeliene's documentary shots.
Beyond fashion, what are some other things or people you love to shoot?
"I want to become a photojournalist and mostly focus on travel stories and documentary style, more cultural subjects and people. There's so many interesting countries and cultures to document I find it really inspiring. Even in Europe every country is so diverse with its own history, architecture, culture, and people. There are so many places to visit! I'm planning a trip to the Ukraine in July to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere to document the people that live there and will also travel around the north of Scandinavia to take photos of the beautiful landscapes."
What photographers inspire you most?
"A lot of the magnum photographers—some of them have delivered extraordinary work, and I think it takes a lot of courage to take some of the photos they've taken. Right now, I'm reading these travel stories of a documentary photographer called Nick Danziger who shot a lot in Afghanistan in '89 and was one of the last photographers left documenting the war there at the time. The stories he writes are amazing and inspiring…I feel like I can't wait until I have more time to travel!"
The Dutch model dishes about being on both sides of the camera.